At least 2m expats in Saudi to lose jobs - report

SMEs that are not compliant with Nitiqat system have until Wednesday to hire at least one national

At least 2m expatriates in Saudi Arabia could soon lose their jobs, with about 250,000 companies yet to meet Saudisation quotas days before the deadline, according to local media.

The small and medium-sized firms classified under the kingdom's Saudisation programme, 'Nitaqat', as being in the ‘red category’ have until Wednesday to hire at least one Saudi national or risk their employees not having work permits renewed.

The measure is part of the kingdom’s push to reduce unemployment among its own population, particularly youth and women.

The Nitaqat system, introduced in 2011, involves a system of rewards and punishments for the country’s 800,000 registered private companies, depending on how well they meet quotas for the number of Saudis on their payroll.

Companies fulfilling their quotas are listed in the green zone, receiving privileges such as expedited visas for foreign workers and the right to hire expatriates working for other companies without first getting approval.

Firms that fall short of their quotas but are considered to be making efforts to reach them are in the yellow zone and face some restrictions on access to foreign labour.

Those that have not made any effort to employ Saudis are placed in the red zone. As well as a ban on renewing work permits for existing foreign workers those companies also will be denied services and licences by the ministry.

Workers whose visas are not renewed would be deported under the new law.

The number of companies in the red zone has declined from 340,000 firms earlier this year, Arab News reported.

Saudi Arabia is not the only Gulf country taking steps to increase the proportion of its nationals within the total population, with Kuwait last month announcing a plan to cull 100,000 expats each year over ten years.

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Posted by: Abduaziz

I think it is a courageous step taken by Saudi ministry of work. Not everybody in Saudi can work in oil or energy sector. Incredibly few people do. Majority of unemployed would be happy with as little as 4,000 SR a month. I know because I'm living among so many. But why pay 4,000 when you can pay 1,200 SR for an expat competitor who accepts less. "lazy" and "unfit" Saudis are just stereotypes blown out of proportion.

Posted by: Ed Clavio

The main problem here is, the company could not be able to hire more saudi local due to laziness.

Posted by: Saffah

@ Pedro
You crack me up. You know that will probably never happen :-). Saudi's working menial jobs while Saudi Arabia is still the largest oil exporter? That's probably not going to happen. Maybe, AFTER the oil exports drop by a significant amount.

Posted by: jay

what will you doo with all the empty apartments and compounds property values will fall rents will drop sales in the shops will decline saudis will suffer the most?

Posted by: Pedro

I think Saudi Arabia should deport all the maids, cleaners, house boys, drivers, gardners, tea boys and replace them with Saudis. This would bring more Saudis into the workforce and reduce the amount of expats.
I think that is only fair and I would call that a win win for all.

Posted by: emkaybee

HI Pedro, yes you are 100 % right..........but there will be utter chaos in Saudi households resulting in social/marital relationship issues in homes ! The Saudi families are so used to expat help/support that they will not know what is happening in their homes- it will be like chicken-with-head-cut and running aound situation! But yes, that's the only way Saudis will learn to work on themselves !!

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